Calzone Day

July 6, 2016
There are only two people in the world who celebrate Calzone Day! That’s me and my hiking partner, John. The first Calzone Day was July 6, 2007, when John bought a calzone in Monson, Maine, couldn’t eat the whole thing, and shared it with me!

We didn’t know at the time that we would become hiking partners, but now celebrate the day we met!

Today marks nine years since the first Calzone Day!

Stay or Go?

July 1, 2016
We easily walked from last night’s camp to Eckville Shelter, arriving at about 2 p.m. The trail today was scenic with views from Pulpit Rock and The Pinnacle, winding from Blue Mountain to Eckville Rd on a smooth, old dirt road. Not so many rocks at all!

Eckville Shelter is a remodeled garage behind a big farmhouse next to the road to Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, where hawks gather in great numbers during spring and fall migration.

The shelter features a caretaker who lives in the house, a solar shower (cold today!), a charging strip for electronics, and six bunks. read more

Port Clinton

June 30, 2016
A popular hiker hangout in Port Clinton, PA is Frank’s Barber Shop. The barbers are a father-son team who’ve been running the shop for decades – $8 a cut. They had a steady stream of customers for the 2 hours we stayed while sorting our maildrop and charging phone batteries.

“Would you like to cut my hair?” I asked the younger Frank. He looked at me, “No, not really.” I think he just cuts men’s hair. And they just really enjoy having the hikers visit.  They offer everyone coffee and cookies – vanilla amd chocolate  sandwich cremes – and find out our trailnames and where we’re from. read more

Katahdin Anniversary

June 27, 2016
Today is my nine-year anniversay of my first summit of Mt Katahdin, the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, in Maine!

What a day that was! I was astounded at the arduous terrain of the mountain, surprised at the boulder climbing and the 10-hour trek to get up – and down!

Now I know that Mt Katahdin is in the top five most difficult parts of the trail, too! But, I’m so glad I did my thruhike  that way because I got the hard stuff out of the  way first!

I’ve gone back to climb it again – eight other times! If you haven’t watched my video of Mt Katahdin, watch it here! read more

501 Shelter

June 28, 2016
“We haven’t stayed at a trail shelter yet on this walk, but this would be a good one,” I said to John, as we heard the approaching thunder. We had been waiting at the fancy-dancy 501 Shelter at the junction of the AT and PA 501 for the last few hours, heeding the thunderstorm watch.

So far, we have bypassed all the shelters since our walk began on June 3rd. Here are my reasons:
   *I’m not a social sleeper!
   *They can be dirty and mouse-ridden!
   *People leave things in them.
   *They remind me of work as a ridgerunner when I cleaned them out.
   *I love sleeping in my own tarp space out in the quiet woods. read more

Nine Year Avocado

June 28, 2016
“We brought those avocados,” Holly says, as she drives to the Red Lion for a reunion lunch in Pine Grove, PA. “It only took nine years to deliver!” We all laugh.
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In 2007, when John and I were doing our thruhike of the Appalachian Trail, my friend, Diane, from Atlanta, had said, “When you get to Bethel, PA, call my step mom, Holly. She wants to meet you!”

I called her from Port Clinton, two days north of PA 501, the road to Bethel. Well, the next morning, a few miles out from Port Clinton, we found out that the next few water sources were dry, leaving us an 18-mile waterless stretch. We weren’t prepared for that! read more

Rocks Reprise

June 28, 2016
I said I’d keep you posted about the rocks. Yes. There are rocks here in Pennsylvania on the Appalachian Trail. Ok. Enough said?

So, I’ve been thinking a lot about the rocks, both when they are here and when they are not. Rocks on the trail is one of those topics and experiences that can stir many perspectives. Here’s a starting list:

   *Complain about them
   *Muscle through and ignore them
   *Be mindful of them and go inside with what arises
   *Trip and fall on them and get off the trail
   *Study the geology of rocks
   *Notice the artistic qualities of rocks
   *Dance! read more

Trail Magic

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June 25, 2016
Most hikers mean “Food” when they talk about Trail Magic, the term for happy surprises on the trail.

My favorite Trail Magic is trail maintenance, and extraordinary care like the Duncannon  Appalachian Trail Club folks – and day hikers who happened to be hiking up to Hawk Rock – who were removing graffiti from the rocks. They had teamed up to carry 70 gallons of water one mile up with a 750 ft elevation gain. It was impressive! Volunteers, families, random day hikers, the handful of organizers gathered a crew and spent half the day coating  the paint with a gelatinous acid product, waiting for an hour, then scrubbing with wire brushes. read more

Back to the Mountains

June 24, 2016
(Reading in email? Click “read in browser to see pictures!)
Noon. After a night in the Super8 Motel, we walked back to the trail, 1/4 mile away to the pedestrian overpass on US Rt 11, a 1,185-mile long highway from Canada to New Orleans. The AT crosses it down in Daleville, VA as well.

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2 p.m. we took a break at Scott Farm Work Center, where John and I reminisced about our Ridgerunner Training held here in 2010. The path headed north was lined with daylilies!

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3 p.m. the tunnel under PA 944, a good example of a successful partnership project for constructing the AT. PA 944 is a major commuter route, so the engineers did meticulous planning to shut down the road for only a minimal number of hours to build the tunnel. read more

Mildred Norman Ryder

June 22, 2016
A big question arose from my visit to the Appalachian Trail Museum in Pine Grove Furnace. Where is Mildred Norman Ryder, the first woman to walk the entire  Appalachian Trail? Yep. Another woman did it before the famous Grandma Gatewood.

When I first learned of Mildred, it was while reading Peace Pilgrim, a biography of the woman who walked across the U.S. numerous times advocating for peace.

I was stunned to read that she had her vision of what to do with her life while walking the Appalachian Trail! “What?!” I thought. “She walked the trail in 1952?! Why, Grandma Gatewood’s famed thruhike was in 1956?!” read more